Last call for Holiday Promotions

We discovered years ago, this amazing format that provided s a gigantic open rate and high response.

The Holiday Invitation Mailers

When we first started out offering marketing services to the hearing aid industry, the Christmas Holiday time was slow for us. Practice owners were hesitant to spend marketing dollars during the Holidays, thinking customers would not want to spend money on something like a hearing aid during the gift buying season.

Not anymore.

With the Holidays comes lots of time spent with family, and too comes your customer’s realization that the time has arrived to finally do something about that hearing loss.

In comes your friendly invitation to offer help.

Our invitation format looks like a greeting card from the outside, providing great open rates.

Once opened, your customer is not tricked into yet another salesy pitch – but invited to a special Holiday open house to receive something he or she really need for the Holidays – help with a hearing loss!

We know there are plenty of busy practice owners out there that may not be realizing that the final holiday deadline is fast approaching…

so here is your reminder note to call now. 

Don’t miss your chance to finish up 4th quarter with a bang.

All Christmas Holiday promotions must be finalized by Friday, Nov 14th. 

(And then get going on your New Year and Valentine promotions too!)

View more Holiday Mailers

Here’s to a great end to your year and a very happy holiday season.

5 Reasons You Need an Appointment Setting Service, Right Now

Outbound Telemarketing.

Yes, “Telemarketing” has a bad reputation.

There are a lot of companies out there that give telemarketing a bad rap, but when done right – yes even today – telemarketing is a powerful tool in your audiology / hearing care marketing toolbox.

Here are the 5 reasons that all Hearing Care Professionals Need Outbound Telemarketing:

1. Immediate Gratification

Direct Mail should be the backbone of your hearing aid marketing efforts, but it takes some time to prepare and mail a successful direct mail campaign.

But what if you need a boost in hearing aid sales right now?

A reputable Outbound Telemarketing program can start sending you qualified leads as soon as the next business day.

It is also very cost effective so it’s easier to obtain funds than a big direct mail promotion or online marketing campaign in a short time period.

2. Eliminate the Slow Times

While expensive up front, direct mail is highly effective.

When done correctly, a DM campaign will provide a high volume response (and a high volume boost in sales).

However, in the hearing care industry,  you should never mail a customer more than once in a quarter or you will run into customer fatigue and quickly see your response rate drop.

In between the direct mail promotions is an ideal time to use telemarketing to keep those sales numbers consistent.

3. It’s More Effective Than Social Media

Social media is an essential element of your marketing mix. It gives your brand credibility, let’s you connect with your customers in real-time, and to interact with your customers on a very personal level.

However, social media  is a long-term investment.

It can take a whole lot of time and patience to see sales volume resulting directly from your social media efforts – especially when targeting Seniors.

In fact, unless you have a really good plan in place, you may not ever truly know your exact return on investment from your social media efforts.

Telemarketing provides a higher volume of qualified leads and in a short amount of time and is easily tracked to provide you with accurate ROI details.

4. Supports All Other Marketing Efforts

You need to diversify your marketing efforts.

As we said before, direct mail should be the backbone of all marketing for hearing care, ENT and audiology practices.

You also need online marketing (really helps that trust factor) and depending on your market, it is usually a good idea to mix in newspaper, TV, radio and other offline advertising mediums.

Outbound telemarketing can be used as a stand alone service to drive traffic to your practice, or as an enhancement to your other advertising efforts.

Use a telemarketing service to provide reminders to your direct mail list or surrounding area about a current promotion that you are advertising – whether in print, email, TV or radio.

These reminders will greatly increase your response – even up to a 50% lift in response.

5. Your Customers Want Human Interaction

We talked about how social media can be highly personal, however, nothing beats a live person speaking to you one on one.

Consumers, specifically the Boomer and Senior markets, remember and long for a time when everything was done one on one – not automated and online.

In a day and age where we are now bombarded by advertisements on web sites and in our email, it is refreshing to receive an actual piece of mail or a phone call from a friendly voice.

Don’t believe someone actually enjoys a telemarketing call?

A study done in 2012 by the Direct Mail Association showed that while email had the highest return on investment (well obviously… it’s cheap to produce), direct mail and telemarketing response rates far surpassed that of email.

Still skeptical? Come sit in our call center for a day.

The other day, one of our call agents even had a man ask her to drive to Ohio for a date because he enjoyed the conversation so much.

Sad but true, Seniors are often lonely and enjoy having a friendly conversation.

This could easily be taken advantage of,  which is why we often hear about phone scams targeting Seniors.

But, we choose to do good over evil.

We employ only the friendliest of call agents (many of them Seniors themselves) and while they are trained to ask particular qualifying questions, they are also trained to provide the utmost respect and friendliness to the person on the other line.

After all, our call center representatives are also representing our clients’ brand.

So yes… telemarketing can be (and often is) used by the evil doers.

However, when used correctly, it can enhance your relationship with potential (and existing) customers, accentuate promotions in other marketing mediums, and eliminate those traditional “down times” – all while being cost effective and providing a quick way to boost your sales.

That being said, just like our direct mail packages, our Outbound Telemarketing is not a one-size-fits all.

While calling a direct mail list may work for one practice, it may be better to stick to an in-house list for others.

Call your Beeman Marketing consultant to determine how telemarketing can fit into your business model.

Yours in Better Hearing Care Marketing,

How to Flip “Take-Me-Off-Your-List” Calls & Sell More Hearing Aids

At Beeman, we offer call tracking and call coaching at no extra cost for every hearing care direct mail customer.

We employ in-house call analysts to listen to and score umpteen calls every week.

One type of call is unavoidable…

the “Take Me Off Your List” call.

Is it possible to turn this type of call into a sale?

We say yes… for a certain type of “Take Me Off Your List.”

Now yes… there are the occasional, unavoidable and inexplicable angry “Take Me Off Your List” calls.

If you have ever sent direct mail, you have probably had this happen…

“What is wrong with YOU PEOPLE!?

How could you send me this?

Why do you think I can’t hear?

I don’t need hearing aids!!!!”

Occasionally these also contain an expletive… or two.

(We have heard some real doozies.)

Who knows what happened to this person today to make them so angry.

Maybe it’s even a mental illness.

Don’t take it personal.

“Kill ‘em with kindness” is the best method here and take them off your list:

Take down the caller’s information (make sure to get the exact name and address on the envelope… if you can get that far with Mr. or Mrs. Irrational) then keep it in your spreadsheet of Do-Not-Mail addresses – to prevent this angry call again.

Be sure you submit this list to any marketing company you use for direct marketing so that you are not continuously enraging this person.

There are also the GOOD  “Take Me Off Your List” calls….

This is your opportunity to make your marketing dollars work overtime.  

The call goes something like this:

“I am not interested and I have no problems hearing. I don’t need hearing aids. I just don’t want you to keep wasting your hard-earned money on postage.”

Translation: 

“I could easily have thrown away this unwanted mailer, but instead, I decided to call a total stranger and tell them I’m not interested in hearing aids. Why? Because I enjoy the communication. I may be lonely today and need of good conversation.”

Oftentimes, the front office staff pleasantly deals with the call and by the end of the call, there is some good, sincere rapport going.

The information is put on the “Do-Not-Mail” list… but the call ends.

This call shouldn’t end the same way as the other “angry” calls.

Certainly it wasn’t the same, so why should it have the same result?

NO.

And here’s what to do…

Turn the friendly (and rational) “Take Me Off Your List” calls into a sales opportunity.  

  1. Be prepared with a referral incentive – a gift card to a local restaurant, store or gas station works great. Remember this is for a specific type of call so it will be a small investment for your long term success. Make sure your reception staff knows about this!
  2. Train your reception staff to qualify the call  (if you’re a Beeman client, we can help with this free of charge) – if the caller is friendly and eager to talk – the response should be:

“Thanks again for calling. I really appreciate you and our conversation.

Listen, you sound like such a nice person.

This is truly a great offer, and we even have a referral bonus program.

Can you think of anyone that we might be able to help with a hearing loss?

Have your friend or loved one call and make an appointment, when he or she comes in for an appointment – we will send out a gift card as a personal thanks to you.

Your friend or loved one gets help and you get a free dinner/shopping/gas on us.”

A win/win for everyone! Without any kind of hard sell or creepy factor.

Not only can you make your marketing dollars work over-time, you are building your “Likabilty” factor in your community.

You are investing in the golden kind of advertising – Word of Mouth.  

I bet this “Take Me Off Your List” caller will never forget your name next time a friend or loved one has a hearing problem.

You have already spent money to get the call in the first place.

Instead of completely disregarding these calls as non-opportunities, why not try to make the most of them?  

It never hurts to ask!

How to Market Hearing Aids to Boomers

The Boomer generation.

You know them. You love them. You may even be one of them.

You know (and the Boomers know) that they are increasingly in need of an Audiologist, ENT or Hearing Instrument Specialist.

So what is the best way to connect with this savvy market? 

I have read more and more articles lately discussing how Baby Boomers are more proactive with their health – and that contrary to some popular beliefs that Boomers feel hearing aids “make them look old” – Boomers are actually more open than previous generations to seeking help from Audiologists or hearing care provider for a suspected hearing loss.

| Recommended articles:

Time for Boomers to Face Hearing Loss

Baby Boomers Are Addicted To Healthcare

Here are some tips to ensure you are positioning yourself to be in front of this growing market of hearing impaired individuals. 

1. Audiologists, ENTs & HIS: Freshen Up Your Look

The Boomer generation does not want to look and feel old (well, no one really does, do they?)

So make sure your practice, web site, logo and marketing are not making YOU look old. Time to freshen up and get with the times. You need to keep up with this fashion, technology and healthcare savvy generation. (We can help you with the web site and logo part.)

And here is a big one… please don’t send Boomers a direct mail piece with someone that looks like an old Senior. Even Seniors don’t view themselves as old Seniors – neither do the Boomers.

2. Boomers Are Searching. Make Sure They Can Find You 

Pick up your cell phone. Pull up your internet search and type in “hearing aids {insert your city, state here}”.

Does your practice come up within the top 5 results? If not, you need some search marketing help (we can help with that too, just give us a call).

Now, once again using your cell phone – take a look at your web site.

Is it mobile friendly? Easy to navigate? Boomers are increasingly using mobile to find services and research healthcare options. Make sure your site is easy to navigate.

3. Be Social, But Don’t Rely On It 

Are you social yet? If not, go set up pages now on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ andPinterest. Don’t walk, run and do it now.

If you are – most likely it’s not driving tons of traffic to your practice saying “I love your Tweets! Can I buy a hearing aid from you?” (Unless you have a really, really good social media manager). Of course you need traditional marketing (like direct mail andtelemarketing) to help drive your sales volume as well.

But don’t discount the power of social! Even if your customers are not interacting with you in droves. Even if you have a very small following and only have time to update it once a week (or so) – you need to be out there and updating continuous. It builds trust, likability(if you do it right) and freshens your brand appearance.

You know how we said “Don’t look old”? Well nothing ages your practice more than not being social. At the least, create a presence to prove you are with the times! (It also helps your web site to have better rankings on Google)

4. Segment Your Direct Mail

We say it over and over. Direct mail is not a one-size-fits-all for every hearing care practice.

For different regions of the country – based on population size, socioeconomic factors, competition, etc – certain formats and messages will perform better than others. Likewise for the age range.

Are you ready to target the Boomers in your area? Don’t just expand the age range.You need to use messages that will appeal to this generation – which likely will be something different then what appeals to the Boomer’s parents! (The Boomers were notorious for being rebellious as teens and twenty-somethings… what makes you think they will act like their parents now? )

Below are just a couple of the messages that we recommend for the Boomer market–however – the type of format that will work best in your area will vary.

You need a direct mail specialist  to help you determine what will work the best. Someone who has targeted Seniors and Boomers all over the country and know what formats and messages increase open rates and calls (like a Beeman Marketing consultant!)  All of our hearing care direct mail pieces are 100% customizable.

Don’t see a design that fits with your brand?

We will work with you to create a new piece (that includes our secret ingredients) at no extra cost.

Visit our Direct Mail Samples for more designs.

Stop Selling Hearing Aids Now

No this isn’t another one of those scare tactics.

But seriously, you really need to stop “selling” hearing aids in your office and work harder on selling yourself.

Here’s why…

Your Customers Are Buying You, Not Just Your Hearing Aids

According to a customer service study sponsored by ZenDesk , excellence in customer service was ranked#1 reason that impacted buying decision, over price, brand and financial stability.

There are many companies out there selling hearing aids. Online retailers are pushing the cheapest prices and big brands are pushing big-time technology – but what your customer truly wants is a friendly person to help her understand her options and to make her hear well.

Your customer wants a real person

Be that person – the Audiologist, ENT or Hearing Instrument Specialists who is down-to-earth,  Consistent, Trustworthy and Likable. Your customer really does not want to buy a hearing aid. It’s not a fun purchase.

So you need to sell yourself and your practice first, the hearing aids are secondary.

We’ll post more on just how to do this in our next blog. Stay tuned…

Why You Should Sweat the Small Stuff… or at Least Pay Attention to It

We all do it.

We get caught up with the big projects and the bigger deadlines – our everyday business that causes some of the smaller things to fall through the cracks.

Years ago someone came up with the slogan “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”; books and seminars based on this philosophy are prevalent and in many cases valid. However, as a business owner, if you are not paying attention to the small stuff, big numbers could be falling off your bottom line.

Why the Small Stuff Can Be a Very Big Deal

As a hearing care primary provider, your job is to sweat the big stuff – learning about the latest and greatest technology, making sure payroll and bills are paid, and of course seeing patients (many times back to back without a break).

But if you aren’t “sweating the small stuff”, your staff might be falling into little bad habits that result in unhappy, disgruntled patients.

No matter how hard you work on the big picture, it can be the little things that can either turn your prospects in to loyal patients – or send them running to your competitor.

If you are a single provider in a small office, you might not have the time to make sure the person answering your phones is always answering them in a way that promotes your business.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things, such as basic manners (yes, saying please and thank you does make a difference) that can slowly cause your business to drift away.

Put Yourself in Your Patient’s Shoes

Do at least a quarterly review of how a patient enters and is treated at your practice. Remember, first impressions make a big impact.

Ask yourself how it would sound calling your practice.

Pretend you are a person who has waited 7 years, knowing you need help with your hearing. You have finally reached out to get help with this sensitive issue, your hearing. You finally decide to pick up the phone and call for hearing help.

Is the phone answered by the third ring?
(Telling you that the staff is there and wants to help you.)

Are you treated politely on the phone? Using a clear, loud, friendly voice?
(If not, why would you come into the office if the person answering the phone can’t even hear you? Or treats you less than friendly? After all, this is a huge step you are making by picking up the phone. )

There is another call coming in, does your phone staff ask:

“May I please place you on hold?”
Or does he/she say “One minute” and hit the hold button?

If your receptionist is just “sticking you on hold”, you are left to figure out what is going on.  By the time your receptionist gets back on the phone to answer their question, you may be frustrated and questioning whether you called the right place (if you haven’t hung up already).

Or does an answering machine or service greet you? After the phone has wrung multiple times, are you asked to leave a message with someone who isn’t trained on communicating with the hearing impaired?

And if you do reach a staff member, does he/she have the tools and empowerment to book an appointment immediately? Or are you told that the staff member needs to check and call you back later at your (in) convenience?

You may be surprised if you listened to your business’ phone calls for just one day.  Most likely you will find that you have many more leads than you realize.

If no one is “sweating the small stuff,” many of your leads will not turn into appointments. 

Are you utilizing call tracking? If not, to make matters worse, your prospects names, addresses’ and phone numbers are not getting captured so you aren’t even aware that they called AND you are not able to market to them in the future.

So what can you do about this situation?

If you are feeling in over your head with the big stuff and don’t have time to “sweat the small stuff”?
Never fear. There are many technological and marketing solutions that will allow you to record your incoming calls so that you can monitor them and provide your staff with feedback.

Or you can use a company, like Beeman Marketing, that will provide the call coaching and tracking for you.

At the very least, take an hour or two to be a bystander in your practice. Look at your practice through your patient’s eyes. Even if you are not going to sweat it, pay attention to the small stuff because it truly will contribute to your bottom line one way or another.

What I Learned About Hearing Care Direct Mail from a Purse Party

Recently I hosted a Thirty-One party. (It’s more than just purses… but you get the idea.)

As I was working with my friendly Consultant to get ready for the party, she told me she needed my friends’ and families’ addresses to send out invitations.

 “Can’t I just send invites via email or Facebook?” I said. That just seemed so much easier to me.  I don’t want to have to worry about mailing invitations! I’m too busy.

My consultant told me:

“Well, those tend to get ignored and lost in the shuffle. Mailing an invitation is the best way to get more people to your party. Facebook and email is great for keeping people updated on changes or sending reminders about specials (for the people who actually pay attention), but getting mail in the hand is the best way to have more attendees at your party.”

Well duh! I knew this! This is what we do every day for our Audiology & Hearing Care clients.

But it was refreshing to hear from the “Purse Lady”.

We see this over and over again with our hearing care clients across the country. Direct mail drives the most traffic in the hearing aid industry, especially when it’s with an invitation style. However, I have always felt strongly that this was mainly because of the Senior market that we target.

It was re-assuring to here that Thirty-One – one of the most popular and fast growing direct sell companies out there – is using many of the same tactics that we recommend for our clientsEven though the target market is for the mid-20s to mid-40 busy and working moms (like myself), an invitation sent in the mail is still stronger than an email or social media post.

And they really know what they are doing. I am addicted to these bags and organizers. It’s kind of ridiculous. If you talk to Alex, he’ll tell you the same. (Also give him a little sympathy for dealing with my Thirty-One addiction).

The proof is in the pudding… or pursesDirect mail works. It is still the best way to drive traffic to your door. Of course you need email, social media and web sites to remind your customers that you are out there and trustworthy, but keeping up your sales volume requires making direct mail an essential part of your marketing mix.

“National Protect Your Hearing” Month: An Opportunity to Fine-tune Customer Service

“National Protect Your Hearing” Month: An Opportunity to Fine-tune Customer Service

by Monique Hammond – hearing impaired author &current president of the Twin Cities Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA TC)

October is national protect your hearing month. During this month, a special focus is put on the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. As the general public is reminded to preserve hearing health, how are those with treated hearing loss figured into the discussion? The issue is that the possibility of further hearing damage from excess noise exposures is often not raised by professionals. With so many topics to cover during aural rehabilitation sessions ear protection options tend to fall through the cracks. Closing this gap is both a wise and necessary move in the interest of improved customer service.

Hearing protection is for everyone.

In my meetings and community presentations, I have found that people with hearing aids often show little awareness of how excess sound levels can still be dangerous. What I have learned from hearing aid users is that that the general issue of noise often figures in initial evaluations with their specialists, but once a loss is determined, protection of residual hearing is not an essential part of their hearing-loss-education.

Aren’t hearing aid settings and features all-protective?”

A gentleman recently shared with me that he rides his motorbike certain that his devices take care of the ruckus. He then wondered about a possible connection between his rides and the aids’ need for repair. Of course, in such cases the prevailing recommendation is to see the hearing professional without delay for a reality check.

Help them do better and you will do better.

Yes, there is a lot to talk about hearing loss prevention during the month of October. The cue to push for protecting and preserving hearing is also a reminder to make a formal discussion on these topics a necessary part of patient education ─ every day of every month. Use social media, emails and print newsletters to reinforce your message.

Once more the wise words of poet Maya Angelou apply: “When you know better, you do better.” Helping patients do better, with a well-rounded hearing-loss-education curriculum, goes a long way to establish the trust relationship that is at the core of the all-important long-term patient/specialist relationship. You care, and that makes your practice stand out from others’.

Risk assessment: What do patients know?

October is indeed a good time for having a dialogue with your patients on the dangers of excessive sound levels and on how to protect still intact or leftover hearing (yes, even while wearing hearing aids). The door is open this month for probing patients’ knowledge and misconceptions regarding excess sound. Encourage clients to come in for check-up and discuss how to prevent further damage.

Some topics to address might include:

  • Do they feel that hearing aids alone protect them?
  • What are the current noise levels in their lives: at work, at home or during leisure activities?
  • Do they ever protect their ears and how?
  • Do they know the sound volume danger limits?
  • How do they estimate noise levels? Chart? Got a phone app?

The answers obtained during these conversations become the basis for personal risk assessments, which lead to a refresher on ear-noxious noise levels, the truth about their hearing aids, ear protection options and general tactics for dealing with dB assaults.

The topic of hearing protection also offers a chance to inquire about family attitudes toward noise. As patients learn, enroll their help to teach others about the importance and ways of preserving their hearing, especially children and grandchildren. Give your patients the tools to pass forward what is learned. Teach them to keep loved ones from ending up with a type of hearing loss that is totally preventable.

In the end, small changes can make a big difference in customer satisfaction and as American businessman and author Michael LeBoeuf tells us: “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Hard to Accept Truths About Hearing Aids

Thoughts on Some Hard-to-Accept Truths

about Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids

by Hearing Impaired Pharmacist, Author & Advocate – Monique Hammond

Certainly, digital hearing aids have helped many people with hearing loss beyond their wildest dreams. However, there are those pesky misunderstandings or secrets that keep plaguing the average hearing aid customer and maybe for good reason.

Hearing loss in itself is hard to understand and hearing instruments are advanced technology that is unfamiliar to people.

It is also important to remember that clients may be seriously biased by exceedingly optimistic ads, the promises of which they would love so much to believe.

Might overly inflated expectations of what hearing aids can actually deliver get in the way of customer satisfaction?

Although the following truths have been amply written about and may seem old-hat to professionals they are news to clients and I can personally attest to that. These are popular issues causing their share of disappointment and even anger throughout the world of hearing loss. It is important to address them up-front as honesty turns out to be the preferred policy for a productive patient-specialist relationship.

> Hearing will never be normal again. The aim is to do the best with what is left.

Although people may recognize that hearing aids will not fix their hearing it is human nature to hope for “normal” or at least quality hearing from modern-day technology that is so promising and that is also quite pricey. It is hard to accept that hearing aids are just that – aids.

> It takes time to get used to hearing through an instrument. Return trips for tuning are necessary.

Computer technology leads people to expect speedy hearing results. Their trust dwindles as the number of adjustment trips rises. Follow-up appointments that are scheduled before the patient leaves the clinic tend to make it “official” that the first settings are neither final nor optimal.

> In spite of advanced technology even digital hearing aids struggle with distance. Efficiency drops the further one is from the sound source.

Surprised hearing aid trainees often voice frustration when finding that they still strain to hear across the living room or around the huge conference table at work. Are assistive devices acceptable? Also, reminders about hearing aid memories to assist in such communication situations do help. People often forget about them or they never understood when or how to use them.

> Understanding speech in noise remains an issue (and a challenge) that even the fastest processors do not handle perfectly in the here-and-now.

This is the biggest challenge for those with hearing loss. Finding out on their own that, although somewhat improved, they still understand little in louder places makes them wonder why they got instruments in the first place: Embarrassing after all this fuss and expense – as one man put it. Discussions about directional microphones, memories and tips for communicating more efficiently in noisier environments are sure to be welcome.

> What are Telecoils?

We are looping America and this is technology that all people with hearing aids should know about, yet many are still not aware. Do they have T-coils? Are they activated? What are they good for? Finding out from others about the advantages of listening through a loop in background noise undermines the trust in their specialist.

Buying and fitting hearing aids is a journey for both patients and specialists and every case is different. Be an empathetic teacher who sets the record straight on what hearing aids can and cannot deliver ─ clients will find out anyway somewhere down the line. Soften the blow on the hard-to-accept hearing loss truths: Discuss assistive listening devices and offer tips for communicating in challenging situations. Also, stress the importance of protecting residual hearing.

Although they might balk at first most people do appreciate the honesty, which is a confidence and trust builder. And trust is a must for a successful hearing aid purchase and for a solid client/specialist relationship: Trust in the competence of the professional and trust that the patient’s best interest guides the fitting and sales process.

How to Sell More Hearing Aids (When Nobody Wants to Buy)

Part 2 of our series: “Secrets of a Successful Hearing Care Practice”

Also see Part 1: Likability

Fact: Most Audiologists do not WANT to “SELL”.

After all, you went to school to help people hear and live better. Not to SELL people. Right?

Fact: Many hearing impaired people do not WANT to BUY a hearing aid.

Patients do not want to bother with the inconvenience, feel older, OR spend the money.

The conundrum of our industry.

What to do…

In order to stay in business, we have to consider the sales process. It is an essential factor of a healthy, successful, hearing care practice. (Of course we also want to do it in an ethical manner).

If you are a Beeman Marketing client, you know it is essential to us that you have every tool possible to succeed (after all, we only succeed if our clients succeed!)

So… we are continuing our series on the 6 Steps of Persuasion, from the book Influence by Dr. Cialdini– and how to apply one of the most popular sales books {ever} to your practice…
and ultimately sell more hearing aids.

Connect with Your Patients & You’ll Sell More Hearing Aids

This time our topic is Consistency -a powerful trait of behavior.

Understanding Consistency, and the role that it plays in the buying decision, will help you effectively connect with your patients and ultimately sell more hearing aids.

Personally, it bugs me when people do not follow through on a commitment. In fact, I’d say inconsistency is really high on my list of pet peeves, right up there with slow drivers in the left lane and a cold, rainy, summer!

Conversely, I think people who are consistent (make a commitment and follow through with it) are generally more rational, assured, and overall trustworthy.  I tend to immediately judge people who don’t put action behind their word as fickle, scatterbrained, and even unstable. Of course this generality NEVER applies to Beeman customers!

Why Does Consistency Work?

Most people want to be perceived as consistent. It is a highly valued trait in our society. (Most) people in our society desire to “make good on a promise.”

We use consistency to cut through the daily barrage of clutter and decisions that we face on a day to day basis. If we had to stop and weigh our decisions every time we perform a routine task it would drive us crazy and nothing would be accomplished.

Do I use the toilet paper or the Kleenex to blow my nose? Should I use a bar of soap in the shower to wash my hands or the soap dispenser next to the sink? Is one better than the other? Hmmm… …..
(Dr Cialdini goes into this in more detail in his book including really interesting studies… more interesting than blowing your nose.)

Instead of over thinking every detail of every decision in our lives, our brains use consistency to cut through the clutter.

Consistency is a coping mechanism that helps us navigate through our busy lives and make better decisions.

4 Ways To Use Consistency To Sell More Hearing Aids

(And yes, it can be done ethically)

It is important to methodically lead a new patient down a path to commitment.

“Making Good” on a Commitment = Being Consistent

Not only does consistency make your patient look & feel good socially, but it makes life easier on your patient.

When you get a commitment, your patient’s brain says:

“You said yes. I’m going to do what I am trained to do – keep it simple, go along with the decision.”

Consistency is a powerful tool. You are using the power of consistency for good – influencing your patients – who badly need a hearing aid – to take that next step to a better life.

You just need to take the proven steps of consistency to get your patients to “make good on a promise” towards better hearing health.

Here’s how:

1.      Say it Out Loud

Most people do not like to “go back on their word”.  Nobody wants to be labeled fickle or unstable. Asking someone to speak the words – that they are ready to take a step towards hearing wellness (and a happier social / family life) – is one step closer to closing the sale. You are going to see much less “tire kicking” later on in the sales cycle.

Keeping in mind our last blog (Likability) – start with Listening to Mr. Jones and build rapport with him. Ask him to describe his problems to you. Try saying something like this:

What to say:
“Ok Mr. Jones, you have told me some of the issues you are having with your hearing. If we find today that you truly have a hearing impairment – and I am able to offer a solution that will give you a healthier lifestyle AND work within your budget – are you ready to commit to solving your problem?”

2.      Write it Down

There is something almost magical that links a commitment to a good name – a written signature. Mr. Jones wants to keep his word and maintain a positive self-image, especially if he has gone on the record with his written word.

What to do:
After you have received a verbal “yes” – give Mr. Jones a document that states – as long as the recommendations fit within his budget – Mr. Jones is committed to working towards a solution to his hearing problem. Have Mr. Jones sign the document before you proceed with the hearing test.

You should also sign it yourself, stating that you understand his complaints and that you will provide Mr. Jones with your best solution to his problems.

3.      Share the Commitment Publicly

As part of our call coaching service at Beeman Marketing, we tell our clients to always ask for a Third Party. One reason a Third Party is essential – it is basically peer pressure 101. Stating a commitment in front of a loved one is a huge step and one that we know is critical for closing sales.

What to do:
When Mr. Jones commits in writing to you, he is now making a public statement (in front of his wife) that he is committed to get help. If Mrs. Jones has come to the appointment, most likely she knows that Mr. Jones has a problem and wants him to get help.  Mr. Jones does not want to hear the repercussions when he gets home if he commits to getting help and then walks out of your office without a hearing instrument.

4.     Achieve Fewer Returns & More Referrals

How can consistency do this?  People have an inherit desire to align actions with beliefs.

After you have received verbal and written commitment, found a loss, persuaded the customer that they do indeed need to buy hearing aids (more on persuasion best practices in our next blog!) and closed the sale – your next step is to re-enforce that great decision.

The company LifeSource knows how to do this.

LifeSource uses little stickers that say “I Donated Blood Today!” Each and every person who has taken action to donate blood, now has a badge to wear on his or her shirt to publicly proclaim consistency in helping others. The customer feels good about it… and others see it and think “I want to do that and feel good about myself too!”

And how about the “I voted” sticker during election time? Same idea.  The voters feels good about voting. She wants to share this great decision and come back next election. Others see her sticker, praise her for voting, and feel the peer pressure to vote themselves.
Pure consistency genius!

How to Do It:
Help a person associate their own self-image with promoting better hearing.  Use promotional products to promote the great decision to achieve better hearing health. Use stickers, tote bags, auto decals, etc. promoting the decision stating: “I had my hearing checked today” or “I have Healthy Hearing”

Get creative. Find ideas on Pinterest.

Here are a few that would be great on a tote, coffee mug or bumper sticker together with your logo:

“I hear, therefore I am.”
“The more I LISTEN the more I HEAR”.
“Yes. I Can Hear You Now”
“2 Ears are Better Than 1”
“Life is Calling. Now I Can Hear It”

Using the principles of consistency will help your practice sell more hearing aids, avoid returns, and have happier patients that will refer.

Remember, you are using a proven sales tool to spread hearing wellness and make a difference in someone’s life.

You are helping Mr. Jones accept that fact that he needs help... and influencing him to take action towards a better life.

Stay tuned next time for the third step of “Persuasion” (or as we like to call it, “Staying Alive”)